[From Little Manx Nation, 1891]

To the Reverend T. E. Brown, M.A.

You see what I send you — my lectures at the Royal Institution in the Spring. In making a little book of them I have thought it best to leave them as they were delivered, with all the colloquialisms that are natural to spoken words frankly exposed to cold print. This does not help them to any particular distinction as literature, but perhaps it lends them an ease and familiarity which may partly atone to you and to all good souls for their plentiful lack of dignity. I have said so often that I am not an historian, that I ought to add that whatever history lies hidden here belongs to Train, our only accredited chronicler, and, even at the risk of bowing too low, I must needs protest, in our north-country homespun, that he shall have the pudding if he will also take the pudding-bag. You know what I mean. At some points our history — especially our early history — is still so vague, so dubious, so full of mystery. It is all the fault of little Mannanan, our ancient Manx magician, who enshrouded our island in mist. Or should I say it is to his credit, far has he not left us through all time some shadowy figures to fight about, like "rael, thrue, reg'lar " Manxmen ? As for the stories, the "yarns " that lie like flies — like blue-bottles, like bees, I trust not like wasps — in the amber of the history, you will see that they are mainly my own. On second thought it occurs to me that maybe they are mainly yours. Let us say that they are both yours and mine, or perhaps, if the world finds anything good in them, any humour, any pathos, any racy touches of our rugged people, you will permit me to determine their ownership in the way, of this paraphrase of Coleridge's doggerel version of the two Latin hexameters —

" They're mine and they are likewise yours,
But an if that will not do,
Let them be mine, good friend !for
I Am the poorer of the two."

Hawthorns, Keswick, June 1891.

[Hall Caine]


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